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Sikhs march to keep the faith

Posted on 08 May 2013 by admin

Thousands of members of the Sikh community from Mississauga and across the GTA paraded through Malton yesterday in celebration of the annual Khalsa Day festival.

Members of Mississauga’s Sikh community were dressed in traditional religious garb as they marched from the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Malton on Airport Rd. to the Sikh Spiritual Centre in Etobicoke.
The Sikh community celebrates the Khalsa festival to educate other Canadians about their faith and ensure the culture is kept alive by new generations of Canadian-born Sikhs.

“We have people who have come all the the way from Michigan and New York,” said Jujhar Singh Dhillon, general secretary for the Sikh Spiritual Centre in Etobicoke. “Vaisakhi is also about celebrating the season of the harvest back home, a very happy time, especially for the farmers.”

More than 75,000 people turned out last year and Dhillon said organizers were expecting about 95,000 people for this year’s event.

The sun was smiling on participants on the weekend and the sound of drums, music and cheering filled the air.

The procession, called “nagar kirtan” — the Punjabi word for “neighbourhood” — began at 1:30 p.m. at the Malton Gurdwara and ended four hours later at the Sikh Spiritual Centre, located at 9 Carrier Dr.

Similar parades and processions were held around the world. Traditionally, the celebrations include the giving of flowers and offerings at gurdwaras.

Sukhjunder Singh, 22, and Jaskirat Singh, 16, both said it’s important that all local Sikhs come out to celebrate Khalsa Day. Khalsa is a Punjabi term meaning beloved ones and refers to the collective body of all baptized Sikhs.

Originally a military order of saintly soldiers created in 1699 by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, the Khalsa were five baptized Sikhs who offered to give their lives for their religion.


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